Finding the right caravan for your road adventures can be quite complicated. The world of caravans is expansive, and there are so many designs to choose from. Two options that stand out are the pop top and hard top caravans. These two small trailers are compact, but come with many comforts of home. So which one is right for you?
Here, we will shed some light on the differences between pop top and hard top caravans, analyse their pros and cons, and recommend some of the best small mobile abodes in the market today.
Let’s get started.
A pop top caravan is a small RV trailer towed by a vehicle. While on the road, the camper is folded into a condensed package to allow for easy travel. When parked at the campsite, the roof is raised to create more headroom or sleeping space.
Its standout features are the collapsible walls and pull-out bunks. Aside from that, most pop top caravans have a small kitchen, a dinette, and a decent amount of storage. Some may even have a bathroom area.
Here are the main benefits of owning a pop top caravan.
- Their low travelling height means less wind resistance, helping to improve stability while towing as well as offering greater fuel economy.
- They are a great choice for people with a low garage.
- They are more compact than traditional caravans, allowing them to be towed by a smaller and less powerful vehicle.
- When travelling through a hotter climate, they easily beat the hard tops for ventilation and getting breezes through the trailer.
- Their short stature makes them a better option if you intend to traverse off tracks with overhead branches.
- Pop tops are quite cheaper compared to the equivalent hard top caravan.
- The fabric on the walls of the pop top can be damaged or wear out and if not looked after properly.
- Even after raising the roof fully, maximum headroom doesn’t extend to cover the entire length of the caravan, increasing the risk of banging your head.
- When camping in colder climates, the pop top will be colder and harder to heat since heat will escape more easily through the fabric sides.
- You have to make sure the canvas is fully dry before storing the caravan, otherwise, mould and mildew will grow and damage it.
- There is little-to-no sound insulation.
Searching for the best pop top caravans in New Zealand? Check out these amazing options.
- IDIYA York Off Road Trailer – If you want a pop top that can conquer the backcountry, and boasts an extremely quick setup, consider this camper. Some of its features include a solar panel roof, AC system, 4 stoves, 16L refrigerator, water heater, and a 120L+80L steel water tank.
- York+ Off Road Trailer – This 4 berth pop top is loaded with everything you have been looking for in a camper. You’ll love the outdoor fridge and kitchen, interior shower and toilet, solar panels, 14L water heater, air condition, electric pop top, and massive canopy. It’s fully off road and can handle whatever you throw at it.
A hard top caravan is a conventional trailer, only smaller in size. It doesn’t fold out or expand, and it has a fully enclosed and hard-shelled top. Most hard tops have a sleeping area, kitchen with stoves and fridges, dining area, storage, and bathroom.
Here are the main perks of owning a hard top trailer.
- You don’t have to set things up once you pull up to the campsite. This also makes it a good option for stealth camping.
- Allows you to carry awkward and bulky items on the roof, such as boats and bikes.
- Conventional trailers are much more waterproof, and you don’t have to worry about condensation indoors.
- Generally, they have much more room and the ability to accommodate additional storage inside with the elevated roof.
- The hard walls offer more privacy.
- Your vehicle’s interior temperature is independent of the weather outside.
- Not as fuel-efficient as pop tops due to weight and wind resistance.
- For some taller caravans, elevated roof means maneuverability is an issue, so you have to pay extra attention to low branches and low clearance areas.
- Some won’t fit inside a small garage.
- Depending on the size, you may require a larger tow vehicle.
Looking for a hard top caravan that delivers functionality and comes with all the amenities you would expect in a home on wheels? Explore the options below.
- Darien Caravan – It has a quality build, thoughtful features and fits all the comforts of home, including a 65L fridge, AC, wet baths, and kitchen. And if you want to leave the formative campsite and venture into remote areas, its off road capabilities will come in handy. Check out its other version with a wet and dry separation of the bathroom.
- IDIYA New Port Caravan – This versatile trailer is easy to tow, and is equipped with a bathroom, hot water heater, 65L fridge, 4 stoves, a bed for two, solar panels, and ample storage.
Ultimately, choosing a caravan comes down to your needs. There is no right or wrong choice. Just check them out in person, weigh in the pros and cons of each caravan design, figure out which one matches your camping needs, and go for what makes you more comfortable. Happy travels!